Student Hackathon Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I communicate with everyone?

There is a GitHub organization:

And a Slack team:

  • What will be provided?

We will provide hackathon basics such as food, wireless internet, quite workspaces, whiteboards, etc. We will also provide datasets from our example smart cities in a GitHub repository that will be available the Wednesday before the hackathon starts. You can review sample datasets ahead of time to get ideas and we will have a presentation on how to access them and what they contain at the beginning of the hackathon. You can also bring your own data or use data from any other open source.

We will also provide access to computational resources including:

  • Apache Spark cluster with Jupyter notebook interface
  • Virtual machines for computation and services with public IPs
  • A few large (256 GB RAM, 64 core) servers
  • Storage space (10 TB)
  • What should I bring?

Your computer, chargers, headphones, whatever you need to be creative (pens, graph paper, post-its, butterfly stickers, etc.) as well as a few toiletries. Remember, we’ll all be together in one space for 26 hours.

  • Will there be food?

Of course! Meals, beverages and snacks will be provided :-)

  • What is GitHub?

GitHub is a web site for writing software and working collaboratively with others. We will use it during the hackathon as a place for everyone to put their code and presentations. A workshop on using GitHub will be held during the hackathon. You can also read their tutorial.

  • Where can I sleep?

The CENTRA suite will remain open all night however you are welcome to return to your home or hotel to continue working. We will have some bean bags and chairs availible if you want something more comfortable than an office chair to rest in. Your entire team must present your work on Sunday so be sure to come back.

  • What presentation do I need to make?

When the hackathon ends at 11:00 am Sunday, each team will have 3 minutes to present their hack to the entire group and the judges. There will be an opportunity for the judges to ask up to two questions. We encourage you to not use slides for your presentaion. Please show your code running or your application in use. If you chose to do a data analysis, then slides may be appropriate for showing graphs and results. All team members must be present at the presentation to be eligible to win.

  • What are the judging expectations?

Our judging panel will review your presentation and hack based on:

  1. Wowness and creativity of the hack
  2. Consideration paid to improving communities
  3. Technical, artistic, organizational, etc skills requried to do the hack
  4. How well the presentation conveys the work you did

We will not be using any of these criteria for judging:

  • Public speaking skills
  • Immediate applicability of the hack
  • Ability for the hack to become a research project
  • Marketability or comercial value of the hack
  • Previous work done on the hack outside the hackathon

Basically, you’ll be judged on the creativity and quality of the work you did this weekend.

  • If I win, where do I get to go?

The best two hacks will be able to do their hack presentation again at closing session of the SUNTOWNS (Smart University Towns) workshop on Wednesday April 12 at the Hilton University conference center. This workshop will feature talks and panels by community members and international researchers in the Smart Cities domain including Dr. Kent Fuch, persident of UF; Anthony Lyons, Gainesville city manager; and Glenn Ricart, Founder and CTO of US Ignite. The full program is here. Note that the group photo is at 8:40 am so if you want your picture taken with everyone, please come for the whole day!

For the best hack, two members of the team will have travel and lodging paid for to attend next year’s CENTRA meeting in Japan. The date has not been set yet but it will be in the spring of 2018 near Tokyo. You will be expected to make a presentation about your research or related project at this meeting and the ACIS lab is happy to provide you with support during the year to help you prepare. Attending this year’s CENTRA workshop on Monday April 10th will let you meet the people and learn about CENTRA projects.

  • Even if I don’t win, what events can I attend the week of April 10 - 14?

The CENTRA workshop on Monday and Tuesday April 10 - 11 at the Hilton University conference center is open to anyone interested in participating in international collaborative research. You are welcome to attend the first day, Monday, to hear overviews of on-going research projects supported by CENTRA that are seeking researchers. CENTRA can also provide funded travel opportunities to US citizens and permenant residents to co-work with other member research institutions in Asia.

The SUNTOWNS (Smart University Towns) workshop on Wednesday April 12 at the Hilton University conference center is open to everyone who attends the hackathon and will feature talks and panels by community members and international researchers in the Smart Cities domain.

If you plan to attend any of these events, please let us know. Registration is officially closed but we are happy to add you to our attendee lists if you ask.

  • How do I register?

Registration has ended.

  • Can I sign up if I’m not on a team?

Absolutely. Before hacking starts we will have time for everyone to discuss their ideas and have opportunities for participants to work with people interested in the same hacks. Or on their own hacks, it’s up to you.